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The Seattle Times has an interesting story about REI, described as "the nation’s largest consumer-owned retail co-op, with the twin mandates of taking care of its members and spreading the love for the outdoors." But it also is "a retail juggernaut that last year had half a billion bucks in the bank, more dough than many shareholder-owned rivals."

However, despite its millions of members, REI has its own challenges ... while sales and memberships are up, there has been some dilution of "the involvement of its membership in the running of the co-op’s affairs ... In 2015, fewer than 1 percent bothered to vote in its annual election of board members. At PCC Natural Markets, another locally based co-op with more than 50,000 members, turnout was close to 4 percent."

REI says that "the poor turnout in the latest election is due to its switch last year to online voting, and this year it’s working on making it easier. But REI also contends that the way people get involved with the co-op has changed fundamentally from a time when there were no smartphones or Internet, and there was only one local store."

It is a story about one of the country's most interesting retailers, that has a connection with its customers that most other retailers can only envy. And you can read the entire story here.
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